Mobile Workforce and Electronic Communications

The Mobile Workforce: Understanding the Requirements & Mitigating the Risks

April 8, 2019 by Sean McKeveny

Business communication continues to evolve. Over the past few decades, there has been a noticeable change in what is seen as an “acceptable” turnaround time. Back in the days of “snail mail” it was weeks, then the introduction of email shortened that time to hours, and now with the growing mobility of employees and clients, the turnaround time has shifted to minutes with the rise of new messaging applications and trends towards the use of text messages.

ACA Compliance Group Director, John Jacobs and I recently participated in various regional events with Smarsh for their customers. These events involved working sessions to highlight search efficiencies and policies, and provided great insight into the future of business communications.

Throughout our conversations at these events, the message was clear, by resisting transformation, firms face many risks. No longer can firms take a “head in the sand” approach. Even if there are clear policies around approved communication channels, clients and outside parties can be the driver of employees needing to use platforms that may fall outside of an approved list. The idea of an acceptable use policy to allow only logistics like “I’m running late” only expose your company to an open communication thread that can trigger compliance violations and legal risks.

What You Should Know

At ACA, we have seen a rise in requests for electronic correspondence to support examinations. The data analytic capabilities of the regulators allow for much more targeted investigations around trading activity and substantial developments during the exam period.

Despite the sophistication of clients, they too deal with email message overload. Text messaging and collaborative communication channels can support the new expected turnaround times highlighted above and lead to more efficient relationship management. As a compliance professional, eager to ensure your firm is adhering to necessary recordkeeping requirements, it is important to learn where (and on which platforms) communication is happening between your colleagues and clients.

Communication channels can be a key differentiator for servicing clients and enabling your workforce. It is likely that there has been a rise in employees working from home and communicating through BYOD devices. Communication surveillance and integrating with a leader in the message archiving space are essential pieces to not only strengthening your compliance program but the overall bottom line by attracting the best talent and communicating in the most effective and efficient ways with customers.

How ACA Can Help

ACA specializes in conducting thorough reviews of electronic communications to help firms meet their regulatory obligations in this area. Our surveillance specialists and regulatory consultants tailor a review program that targets the activities and regulatory risks of greatest concern to your firm, your peers, and regulators.

Learn more here or connect with me, Sean McKeveny, at

About the Author

Sean McKeveny rejoined ACA in September 2014 to support the launch of ACA’s Analysis and Review Center (“ARC”) in Pittsburgh. Sean had previously worked as a Compliance Analyst in ACA’s Morristown, New Jersey office. After spending three and a half years in Pittsburgh, Sean returned to Morristown, where, as a Principal Consultant, he oversees select ARC projects, provides support during mock exams, and serves as a practice specialist supporting sales and business development initiatives for ACA’s business process outsourcing segment. Sean earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management (summa cum laude) from the University of Scranton. He also holds the Claritas Investment Certification issued by the CFA Institute and a graduate certification in Strategic Decision and Risk Management from Stanford University.